Steps to Success
Every now and then we’re reminded 3D printing is not science fiction, but a real technology used every day to make amazing things in homes, studios, schools, and businesses. At MakerBot we’re proud to be leading this Next Industrial Revolution with the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem, which makes desktop 3D printing and 3D scanning affordable and reliable for everyone, and includes a variety of products and services to help unleash your creativity.
One of the newest members of our family is MakerBot Desktop, a complete, free 3D printing solution for discovering, managing, and sharing your 3D prints. As we learned in last week’s post on connectivity, MakerBot Desktop was built to access the powerful software capabilities of the new Fifth Generation line of MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers. This week, we’ll take a look at how to use it to go, in just three simple steps, from a 3D design to a 3D print.
1. Find a Model
Whether you make your own digital 3D models or prefer to use ones that are already made, MakerBot Desktop gives you three ways to get started:
– Did you design your own model? MakerBot Desktop will open any STL or OBJ file. Just make sure you save your file as one of those types in the design software you’re using. Click Add File in MakerBot Desktop, and navigate to where the file is saved on your computer.
– Want to browse through free designs? Click on Explore in MakerBot Desktop to see the hundreds of thousands of 3D printable things on MakerBot Thingiverse, the 3D design community for discovering, printing, and sharing 3D models. Simply click Prepare next to the file name, and MakerBot Desktop will open up the file in the Prepare tab.
– Looking for high-quality, original prints? Check out the MakerBot Digital Store by clicking Store in MakerBot Desktop. Buy individual models or collections, all designed by our experts. A print file for your purchased model will appear in your MakerBot Cloud Library.
2. Prepare Your Model
Once you have your model open in the Prepare tab you can change its orientation, scale it up or down, or even add another model to the virtual build plate.
You may also want to change some settings before printing. Click Settings and choose if you want to print with a raft, support, or both. A raft is a base on which your model will be printed, and can help it stick to the plate. Supports can be printed to hold up overhanging parts of your model. Both the raft and supports can be easily removed once the print is finished.
You can also choose your resolution: low, standard, or high. The higher resolution, the longer the time it will take to print. For more information on preparing your model, visit MakerBot Desktop Advanced Options page in the MakerBot support website.
3. Send the File to Your MakerBot Replicator
When your model is set up the way you like it, you can go ahead and click Print.
– If you’re printing via USB stick, MakerBot Desktop will slice your file when you click Print. When the file is ready, click Export Now, and save the file to your USB stick. Then plug the USB stick into the port on the MakerBot Replicator, and navigate to USB Storage on the LCD Display. Find your file and push the control panel dial to print.
– If you’re printing via USB cable, LAN, or Wi-Fi (coming soon!), MakerBot Desktop will slice your file and send it over to your MakerBot Replicator when you click Print. All you have to do is press the control panel dial to confirm and start the print.
Show the World Your Work
If you printed a file from Thingiverse, MakerBot Desktop will prompt you to share a photo of your print. Select Share to Thingiverse, and the MakerBot Replicator’s on-board camera will take a photo of your build area. Push the dial again to post the photo to the Thing page.
Now you’re all set to start printing. Go ahead and explore all the exciting options MakerBot Desktop offers with your new MakerBot Replicator. And stay tuned next week for when we’ll go over how to use the MakerBot Cloud Library!